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“Kikkerland” is an affectionate term for The Netherlands. It literally means “frogland,” and so it is perhaps fitting, then, that Jan van der Lande would choose, in 1992, to live a little bit north of what was once New Amsterdam, a trading outpost for the Dutch West India Company in the late 1600s that eventually became the frenetic, beautifully urban metropolis of New York City.

It also seems fitting that van der Lande, a native of the watery Netherlands and a college graduate with specialisations in Agriculture and Environmental Studies, was living in New York City’s Upper West Side in a houseboat moored on the Hudson River.

Whether it is pure luck, or whether van der Lande was answering the call of his mercantile Dutch forebears, his choice to forego a career in his area of chosen study for a career in design was shaped not only by his job at Soho’s Gallery 91 but also by the fact that he had many friends from Holland who were designers and had, in fact, been representing “independent, self-producing designers” since 1987.

From the earliest designs: tin-can lamps with feet that van der Lande states are the precursors to Kikkerland and which embodied the philosophy of what Kikkerland was to eventually become, to whimsical, wiry, long-legged wind-up toys named The Critter (designed by Chico Bicalho) the Rainbow Maker (by David Dear in 1999) and the Flip Clock (by Michael Daniel). Kikkerland is dedicated to making whimsical, practical, and functional works of art and design that often need “substantial investments in tooling and production” in order to produce the quality work Kikkerland prides itself on. As Van der Lande proudly says: “We work with designers from all over the world and we do the production ourselves.”

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